Courtney Brooks

Yoga pants are more than just stylish sweatpants

The number of girls wearing Victoria Secret’s signature yoga pants, with some tacky version of “PINK” woven across their bottoms, compared to the number of girls who actually have been to a real yoga class, is unsurprisingly disproportionate.

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Believe it or not, there was a time when yoga pants were more than just a fashion statement, suggesting that you were too lazy to put on real pants but not quite at rock bottom yet, sporting your boyfriends sweatpants.

What many of us fail to realize is that if we actually wore yoga pants as they were intended and went to a yoga class, the benefits we would gain are unlimited.

Whether you’re trying to avoid the freshman 15 or just hoping to lose a few pounds for the upcoming Halloween costume season, yoga is the perfect work out to accomplish your goal. It is a common misconception that yoga is not really a work out because it is “only stretching” but if you give it a shot, you’ll soon see how false that is.

Yoga is a physical practice; it focuses on building strength and flexibility while creating an inner balance in the body. This is done through a series of postures and breathing successions, each designed to target a specific muscle. Most of the newcomers, who had claimed that it was “only stretching” before class, started walking out drenched in sweat, breathing heavy, with their foot in their mouth.

Another reason to practice yoga, which is perhaps even more beneficial to us as college students than it is to anyone else, is because it relieves stress and is relaxing. Although it is a physical practice, yoga is also very spiritual and focuses on mediation and integrating the body, mind and spirit into a workout.

Yoga teaches you how to find your peace, both on and off your yoga mat. It unclutters the mind and allows you to look at the bigger picture; most of the time after walking out of a good yoga class you realize that any problems you might be facing aren’t really as big as you once thought. The next time you’re stressing out over an assignment or you’re fighting with your roommate or you’re just feeling a little homesick, try going to a yoga class and you’ll feel much better.

New Haven is the perfect place to begin your yoga practice because there are so many studios, including UNH’s own Rec Center, in the area that offer all different types of yoga. Downtown, there is True Bikram Yoga Studio, which offers a very structured form of yoga practiced in a room that is heated to about 100 degrees; this is perfect for athletes with sore muscles or anyone who is into high intensity workouts.

Breathing Room Yoga is also downtown and is a more relaxed studio, offering basic classes for beginners and a mix of meditation classes. This studio is perfect if you’re looking to just unwind and escape from the real world for an hour.

My favorite studio, Balanced Yoga in West Haven, is a perfect combination of a high intensity workout combined with relaxation. It teaches Vinyasa yoga, which is a type of flowing yoga practiced in a warm, candle lit room.

No matter what studio you decide on, practicing yoga will change your life for the better. You’ll notice your clothes growing looser and your mind growing quieter with each class you attend.